A great way to spread the love of the environment is to get creative with gifting this year! This could mean gifting experiences, courses, paying a bill or gifting food! Or buying gifts that replace single use items. You might be using them yourself and here is your chance to introduce them to friends, starting them on a mission of banning single use items from their lives forever!
A common theme of our wonderful speakers at1 Million Women LoveEarth Virtual Festival on December 5th (you can watch it here) was about "bringing other people along on your climate action journey". To quote Christiana Figueres (world authority on global climate change) we need to "change our own life and then get out in the community and help others change". This could be a motto for our actions in 2021. 1 Million Women's founder, Natalie Isaacs, talks about "using your power to drive change around you". And Craig Reucassel (War on Waste and Fight for Planet A) said "not to presume everyone is at the same level as you are".
So, how about gifting products that people haven't tried before (and perhaps didn't know existed) that might set them on a path of waste saving habits. It could be that you introduce a friend, who uses coffee pods, to a starter kit for reusable pods. You could be part of the solution of reducing the daily 55 million coffee pods going to landfill.For more inspo - a Rolla water bottle that literally rolls up and fits in a handbag; ocean friendly sunscreen without any nasty chemicals for your ocean loving friends; a stainless steel safety razor is a lifelong present; some shampoo and conditioner bars to try for those who haven't been game to make the switch. And of course gifting courses and experiences is always a great way to avoid "stuff"!
This all springs to mind as I write my 2020 Christmas gift list. For the past two years my extended family have exchanged mostly homemade gifts (edibles and plants) or charity gifts (donating to a homeless xmas dinner in lieu of a present) and some sustainable gifts. Last year I gifted my cousin a bag of stainless steel pegs. Yes, I did think this could be taking it a bit far and my twenty something kids looked a bit embarrassed as my cousin opened her gift. But these are no ordinary pegs. These are stainless steel marine grade pegs that you only have to purchase once in a lifetime! No more broken plastic pegs gathering under the clothes line and no more pegs lasting a couple of months and having to throw them out and replace them. I have since bought my own set and I love them!
I am not suggesting you give your 14 year-old nephew a calico bag of pegs, pick your mark! This might seem a trivial example but what if everyone in the world never threw another plastic peg, on a global scale that's a lot of landfill.
Helping people to change habits from single use items to reusable items is a big, big win. You can introduce them to reusable items for every facet of their life from kitchen to bathroom and cleaning, as Craig Reucassel says, "It's about taking small steps with climate change. Make a change become the norm, one thing at a time".
To help you with your choice of carbon neutral, vegan, locally made and reusable gifts, experiences and courses, 1 Million Women have done the hard yards and made a shortlist of products on their newly launched Marketplace! Check it out here.
By Allison Licence
Allison Licence is a Sydney-based freelance writer and 1 Million Women volunteer who is passionate about the environment and finding ways to live more sustainably.